Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Week Three Observations

1. Let's see the Falcons win a game a) away from home or b) against a team that is not one of the three worst in the league before we give them too much credit. Nice rebound game for Matt Ryan and Mike "Olde Whitey" Smith.

2. BILLS! I still don't have them in my top 10. Next up: St. Louis, then Arizona, then a bye. The Bills could be undefeated going into an intriguing week 7 home game vs the Chargers.

3. The Bears should be 3-0. Their pass D is slipping late and they have botched a couple important third down conversions. They play Philly next, so they could drop to 1-3.

4. Matt Forte is the best running back the Bears have employed since the '80s. As much as they are using him, they should try to get him the ball even more if they want to win more games. They do not have anyone else on offense who can make a play.

5. Kyle Orton sucks of course, but he throws decent short passes.

6. The Panthers are error-prone for some reason.

7. When was the last time a 13 point dog won by 25 in the NFL?

8. I am gonna have to watch the Fins/Pats game during the week to determine a) how bad are the Pats, b) could the Dolphins make some noise this season, c) is Ronnie Brown fully healthy, d) has Randy Moss shut it down for '08, e) can a high-school offense succeed in the NFL.

9. Carson Palmer remembered TJ Houshmandzadeh is on his team.

10. Unfortunately for me and other Ocho Cinco fantasy owners, it doesn't seem Palmer has much interest in throwing to his other star wideout, and when he does, Chad isn't open. Palmer was throwing a lot more to that Chatman guy. I wouldn't be surprised to see Ocho Cinco shut it down for the season pretty soon and get that shoulder repaired.

11. I am not impressed with the Bengals running backs.

12. Tennessee's defense is the best in the league, right?

13. One workout is not enough to get through a full Sunday without feeling like crap. You really need to go before the games and again before the Sunday nighter.

14. The Rams are light-years away. They need to blow everything up and restart from scratch. I'd start by getting rid of Scott Linehan (always in any "league's worst coach" discussion) and then unload Torry Holt (a great player they can't properly utilize right now) for draft picks. Scary thought - what if the Cowboys sprung a deal for Holt??

15. As I said last week, I really admire what Matt Hasselbeck is doing with this receivers corps. I don't think they have a receiver that would get much playing time for any other team in the league.

16. I don't see Ray Rice getting much action this season with Willis McGahee back and the Ravens' unexpected devotion to Le'Ron McClain.

17. My man Toph told me last week a) Ravens -1 over Browns was his lock of the week, b) the Ravens D is one of the league's best again now that it is healthy, and c) the Ravens are one of the better teams in the NFL. I haven't seen them play much so far but I do remember they were a top-5 team in '06 and still have most of those players on their team. Monday night at Pittsburgh they have the opportunity to make a statement.

18. Marvin Harrison is a step slow.

19. Fred Taylor is one of the league's top running backs.

20. Interesting how both Dallas and Philly convincingly won games with their defense a week after battling in that epic shootout. This is why they are the two best teams in the league - they are balanced and can win games in different ways.

21. Let's take a closer look at why Ben Roethlisberger is getting sacked so much. The Steelers do not run a dink-and-dunk offense. They have Ben take deep drops and they throw the ball down the field. They do not waste time with four yard outs, short passes to the fullback, and all that other weak sauce teams with bad quarterbacks run. As a result of all these deep drops, Ben ends up getting hit a lot. Now the thing about Big Ben is that he almost never throws the ball away before the initial hit. He always hangs in there and takes it or tries to avoid it. Often, since he is so huge and athletic, he brushes the guy off and doesn't get sacked. It has been said that Ben "avoids five sacks a game", which is sort of true, but he also puts himself in position to be sacked more than any other quarterback. He might avoid five sacks a game but he also hangs in there for five sacks a game. Let's also remember that this was the Jim Johnson blitzaholic Eagles defense in Philly they were playing, always maniacal on the pass rush and repeatedly selling out trying to get the sack. Finally, of course, the Steelers O-line is not blocking pass rushers well. I haven't watched them closely enough to see it, but I wouldn't be surprised if Willie P and the other backs are not picking up blitzers very well either.

22. Denver does not have a good defense, obviously, but they have only looked bad against the Chargers and Saints - teams whose quarterbacks are playing as well as anyone. Let's see how they fare against the Chiefs before hitting the panic button.

23. Brandon Marshall cannot be defended.

24. So yesterday we were having a discussion on whether Marshall has surpassed his "big brother" Terrell Owens, and if Marshall is now the league's top wide receiver. I watched NFL Live this morning and they were highlighting all the great plays TO made without the ball in his hands. After watching that, I can't put anyone ahead of Owens. And Randy Moss, by far the most dangerous, is also the hardest to rank because he doesn't help bad QBs and he is one-dimensional. Top 10 healthy wide receivers right now:

1. Owens
2. Marshall
3. Moss
4. Burress
5. Jennings
6. Fitzgerald
7. Boldin
8. Wayne
9. Holt
10. Andre Johnson

25. Jay Cutler needs to get a hold of this Brett Favre Syndrome - never giving up on a play, always believing he has the arm to make any impossible throw - if he wants to be one of the best.

26. I'll repeat the statement John Madden made Sunday night: Jason Witten is the best tight end in the NFL.

27. Is Patrick Crayton in the Witness Protection Program?

28. How good is Dallas? The 2-0 Packers seemed to be playing well at home and still lost convincingly to the 'Boys.

29. The Jets are a long ways off. It will be many weeks before they can compete with the big boys, if they ever can this season.

30. I'll go ahead and say it - right now, Darren Sproles is a better running back than LaDainian Tomlinson.

Power Ratings
1. Dallas (1)
2. Philadelphia (6)
3. Pittsburgh (2)
4. Green Bay (4)
5. Tennessee (7)
6. New York Giants (3)
7. San Diego (10)
8. Denver (5)
9. Baltimore (21)
10. Carolina (9)
11. Buffalo (12)
12. Minnesota (14)
13. Chicago (11)
14. Tampa Bay (16)
15. Jacksonville (15)
16. Indianapolis (13)
17. New England (8)
18. New Orleans (17)
19. Arizona (18)
20. Washington (23)
21. Cleveland (19)
22. Houston (20)
23. Atlanta (25)
24. New York Jets (22)
25. San Francisco (27)
26. Miami (29)
27. Seattle (28)
28. Oakland (24)
29. Cincinnati (31)
30. Detroit (26)
31. Kansas City (32)
32. St. Louis (30)


Blogger Zach said...

Like this post, like the power rankings.

Really sad that
1) agree, where the hell is Patrick Crayton?
2) Braylon Edwards should be on your top 10 ... but you didn't make a mistake, he is this year, by wasting his talent. Injuries are there, but he's dropped an astounding number of balls.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sproles/LT comparison isn't fair because the box is stacked and Ds scheme around LT. When Sproles is a starter and Ds draw up plans to try and shut him down, then you can make a sweeping statement like that.


7:10 PM  
Blogger Hoedeman said...

I watched the Steelers game twice for some reason.

Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore literally blocked no one the whole time. It was dumbfounding.

I'll also say this: The Steelers did not look ready to play. One thing we could always count on with Cowher was the team would be prepared to play their best. They would hit their assignments, their routes would be good, there wouldn't be any big breakdowns. This was a big part of the reason they made 5 AFC Championships under Cowher, with the likes of Neil O'Donnel and Kordell Stewart.

The sheen's coming off the Tomlin era a bit here in Pittsburgh (5-6 in his last 11).

9:18 PM  

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